Monday, January 13, 2014

This week has been really amazing...

Hey there,

This week has been really amazing. We still had 7 days, and there were still 24 hours each day, but we seemed to use each hour of every day to its fullest. On Tuesday almost everything in Thibodaux was closed so we had a lot of time on our hands. We were a little nervous how we were going to fill up our time with out wasting it. The Lord makes a way. We ended having 6 lessons that day and build some great relationships. We got to talk to Mr. L., he is an 80 year old Cajun man that has a lot of wisdom. He said something that I am trying to take to heart. He said "I like to listen. I learn more when I am listen than when I am talking." I thought to myself that that was pretty profound but simple. It is definitel true haha. We have more to learn from others than we do from our self. That night we tried to apply that in our lesson with C. We watched the Prophet of the Restoration movie with them and then Elder Bennett felt inspired to invite C. to be baptized. At first he said "I don't know." The next 30 minutes was full of the spirit, while he pondered and we listened. He had a couple concerns about changing who he was and then he wanted to talk to his Mom privately. He came out and told us that he feels like it is the right thing to do, that he wants to get baptized! It was such an amazing experience and the spirit is what made the whole thing possible. He decided he wanted to get baptized on the 11 of January and that is pretty quick, but we went for it. That jump started the whole teaching process and we have been able to have some awesome lessons with him and it has really blessed us and that entire family. He probably won't get baptized this week, but we think the reason we felt inspired to suggest the 11 is so we could get the ball rolling and it is moving quickly now. It has been such an amazing experience so far. I love that family and I think they are the ones that Elder Bennett and I are here for. L., C. and K. are like our Louisiana family.

On January 1 we got permission from President Wall to watch football with members and so we spent a couple hours at the Stocks watching the LSU game. That was a lot of fun and we were able to build trust and share a little message with them. We had a good visit with J. that night and he made us dinner. I really do appreciate him and I look up to his Christlike sense of charity. I love him a lot. 

So we were able to teach 25 lessons this week and we were also able to have 22 service hours between Elder Bennett and I. On Saturday we went up to help Bro Smith put floors in their house that they just bought. It was wood laminate and you pounded each piece together. It was really fun to work with my hands and just spend the day doing manual labor. Measuring, cutting and piecing it together. It was fun to hang out with Bro Smith too. He is super laid back, humble and down to earth. He is just a genuinely nice guy. He also took us to this little hamburger place and they had a pretty good fresh strawberry shake. Speaking of food we went to this restaurant in Houma called Boudreau's and Thibodeau's as a district. It is a Cajun restaraunt and it is definitely somewhere we need to go together. I got the crawfish half and half. It came with crawfish etoufee and fried crawfish tails. It was dang good haha. This was just a really good week. President Wall has also challenged us to do a 40 day fast from the things that keep us from feeling the spirit. It has been hard but it has been worth it. I will include a little part of my presidents letter :

The 40 day fast is refining us and helping us to understand Heavenly Father's will for us. I had a hard time at first because I kept slipping up on doing my 40 day fast. I was a little irritated with myself that I couldn't do it, but then I read the new First Presidency message by Pres Uchtdorf called "The Best Time to plant a Tree" and he says, "Another thing we need to remember when it comes to setting goals is this: We almost certainly will fail—at least in the short term. But rather than be discouraged, we can be empowered because this understanding removes the pressure of being perfect right now...When we approach our goals this way, failure doesn’t have to limit us. Remember, even if we fail to reach our ultimate, desired destination right away, we will have made progress along the road that will lead to it." I may not be perfect at it right now. But if I am better than I was before I started, then I think that is a success. And I can already feel that I am better than before. Baby steps on the path to perfection. 

This morning I was reading in Alma 56 about the 2000 stripling warriors and I compared it to missionary work. It says that "they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them." They had a promise that if they trusted and obeyed that they would be okay. "When we are on the Lord's errand we can't fail." Our missions aren't easy and sometimes it feels like we are fighting a losing battle. But we can take comfort in knowing that we cannot fail. In Helaman 5:12 it says "that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation...a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." This doesn't mean it will be easy, it doesn't even mean that we won't be wounded spiritually or emotionally. These young men gave their lives to the Lord and gave it everything they had. Many of them were severely injured and completely fatigued, but the succeeded! Before they went to battle they said these words in verse 46, "Behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall... let us go forth." That is a great attitude. President Wall I know that Heavenly Father is with us and he will help us, so "let us go forth"

I love being on my mission. I may not have had spectacular and grand things happen, but small and simple miracles that are changing my life are happening everyday. I love you guys so much.

Prayers and thoughts always,

Elder Devin Soper

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